Two members of the Bay of Plenty-Waikato Enterprise Angels funding group have won scholarships from the Angel Association of NZ to attend the major US angel summit in Philadelphia next month.
The winners were Tina Jennen, chief executive of Tauranga-based Plus Group, and Blake Richardson, from Hamilton, who works with his father Neil in their family investment office, which has co-invested on Enterprise Angels deals.
Ms Jennen has a track record of mentoring start-ups and recently joined Enterprise Angels as an investing member.
Scholarship winners are put forward by angel groups around the country, with the national body making the final selection.
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"The scholarships enable some of the most up and coming and promising people involved in the angel industry to attend the Angel Capital Association meeting in the US, which is really the granddaddy of the industry," said Enterprise Angels executive director Bill Murphy.
The event brings together all the major US angel investors as well as a significant international delegation, and regularly includes a large New Zealand contingent. The winners will also attend the one-and-a-half day conference, which follows the summit meeting.
"We're particularly keen on encouraging younger business people," said Mr Murphy.
"We look for them to come back and add a lot of value in the group. It helps cement their understanding of early stage investing, and they can then come back and add value to what we are doing in New Zealand."
Ms Jennen said attending the US summit would allow her to connect to worldwide angel networks, share best practice, and begin to understand the connection points in other markets.
"It's about building capability for New Zealand, and improving connectivity," she said. "Those are both areas I'm very interested in - how to improve the tool kit so we make sure we're getting the right deals and building the capability with the deals we are choosing to invest in.
"And then, how we build those networks for cross-border investment so the third or fourth round of investment actually happens in another market that is strategic to growing the value chain in that market."